Monthly Archives: December 2009

Great Ways to Deal With Carbs in Your Diet


Carb craving seems to be a major hurdle for people with metabolic disorders like diabetes and thyroid disease. Is this just a problem all people face or is there something more specific about metabolic disorders that draws people in the direction of carbs? It is clear that when “insulin resistance” is part of the medical picture that sudden drops in blood sugar that result from this, are most rapidly corrected by consuming sugars and carbs. This may explain part of the attraction.

In her recent book, Eat Your Way to Happiness, expert and author Elizabeth Somer offers readers excellent advice for dealing with cravings and carbs in general.

We thank Elizabeth and her publisher for permission to post this excerpt again:

10 Steps for a Carb Makeover
by Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D.,
Author of Eat Your Way to Happiness

If you are a carb craver, you need to treat yourself with a little kindness. It’s not your fault you can’t keep your fingers out of the cookie jar or the bag of chips. You can’t “will away” those cravings. They are hardwired in your head.

So work with your carb cravings. Make sure each meal contains at least one whole grain. Plan a quality-carb snack at your most craving-prone time of the day (typically midafternoon or late evening). To maximize your mood and minimize your weight, you need to take this quality-carb message seriously. That means tackling the issue with a 10-step plan.

Step #1. Purge the kitchen of all white flour. Open the cupboards and toss the junk. Throw out the obvious: the white rice, the instant mashed potatoes, any cracker or cookie made with anything but 100% whole grain (you are pretty much down to Triscuits and 100% Whole Wheat Fig Newtons), all potato chips, Pop-Tarts, boxes of bread crumbs, Pasta Roni, Hamburger Helper, cans of Chef Boyardi Ravioli, Costco muffins and such. Search the freezer for French fries, hash browns, breakfast foods made from processed grains or other high-calorie/low-quality items like Marie Callender’s frozen pasta entrees or pot pies.

Definitely toss your carb triggers, junk foods that you are powerless to resist. Remember, if you have to drive to the store to get ice cream, you will be much less likely to binge.

Then read labels on the rest. If wheat flour or enriched flour is in the top three ingredients on a label, you are holding a poor-quality carb. Toss it.

Okay, okay, if this cold-turkey approach is a bit over the top, then keep two or three junk carbs and toss the rest. But beware: these items may be “trigger” foods that tempt you to indulge. Also, keep in mind that this is not so much about “giving up” as it is giving to” your health, your mood, and your belly and thighs.

Step #2. Restock the kitchen with the 100% whole grains you like, such as 100% whole-wheat bread, old-fashioned oatmeal, Kashi Autumn Wheat Cereal or GoLean Cereal, Zoom hot cereal or instant brown rice. Experiment with new grains, like barley, millet, amaranth, whole-wheat couscous or bulgur.

If you can’t imagine your spouse or kids loving whole-wheat pasta or whole-wheat tortillas, then choose the next best thing. For example, try Aunt Jemima frozen Pancakes with Whole Grains, or tortillas or pastas made from blends of whole wheat and refined wheat, such as Ronzoni or Barilla whole-wheat blend pastas.

Step #3. Switch to quality carbs in recipes. For example, if a recipe calls for

white rice: use instant brown or wild rice, bulgur, millet or other whole grains

flour: use at least half whole-wheat flour

bread (such as French toast): use whole-grain bread

potatoes: use sweet potatoes, yams, squash and/or corn

Step #4. Plan snacks and bring grains with you. When packing your lunch and snacks for the day, make sandwiches with 100% whole-grain bread, use low-fat cheeses such as Cabot Vermont 50% Reduced Fat Cheese, and include other grains like 100% whole-grain crackers or air-popped popcorn.

Step #5. Create nonfood rewards. Praise yourself with a manicure, flowers, a game of golf on Saturday or a Netflix movie. Follow the “if . . . then” rule: if you steer clear of the junk, then you get the back rub, hour of alone time or bubble bath.

Step #6. Take time. Often we grab food before we even know whether we really want it. That knee-jerk reaction gets us into trouble. Take a 10-minute pause before diving into any snack, from popcorn to leftover doughnuts.

Step #7. Identify the craving. Is it for something crunchy or chewy? Cold, sweet or creamy? Once you have pinpointed exactly what you want, then find a low-calorie food that satisfies that craving. Luckily, the better you eat, the more your cravings for fatty or overly sweet carbs will dwindle.

Step #8. Eat breakfast. As discussed in Chapter 2, eat a nutritious breakfast and you are much more likely to resist junk-food temptations throughout the day.

Step #9. Keep hunger at bay. Eat small meals and snacks evenly distributed throughout the day. This helps keep serotonin levels (and other nerve chemicals like NPY) in the normal range.

Step #10. Out of sight, out of mind. Put another way, seeing is craving. Watch out for temptations at the mall, restaurants and friends’ houses. It is easy to overdo carbs when most of the ones offered to you are the low-quality ones. For example, studies at the University of Illinois found that people ate 45% more calories when there was a bread basket placed on the table in restaurants than when the waiter came by and offered them a slice from a basket. Ask that the tortilla chips be removed when dining at a Mexican restaurant and you will save yourself 300 unnecessary calories. Avoid the coffee shop with the display of muffins, scones and croissants.

The above is an excerpt from the book Eat Your Way to Happiness by Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D.. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., author of Eat Your Way to Happiness

Author Bio
Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, is a registered dietitian and author of several books, including 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet, Food & Mood and Age-Proof Your Body. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of Shape magazine and editor in chief of Nutrition Alert, a newsletter that summarizes the current research from more than 6,000 journals. She appears frequently on NBC’s Today and other national television shows.

For more information please visit www.EatYourWayToHappiness.com.

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Pharma Expert Examines FDA Moves on Restricting Armour


Hank Frier has been involved with the pharma industry for a long time and helps us see through the news blackout in regards to the FDA actions on Armour. He is also suffering the same fate as many others in the U.S., having been successfully treated with Armour for many years, now forced to switch to other alternatives.

Hank writes:

I too have been switched back to Synthroid after several successful years of being on Armour. At this juncture it is too early to tell how this will impact me. Luckily, my physician had the foresight to also put me on Cytomel after I suggested this from my readings. The combination of Armour and Cytomel seemed to work quite well for me without any adverse events.

This next is my opinion so take it as such. I believe the makers of Synthroid (Abbott Ross) in an attempt to increase their sales of Synthroid put pressure on the FDA to require the makers of Armour to submit an NDA. It is a devastatingly poor tactic by Abbott Ross but typical of this industry.

It is unfortunate that the FDA is caught in the middle of this since by statute and law drugs must pass regulatory muster. Where the FDA has failed is in their lack of looking at the long past history of Armour, its lack of adverse events and its benefit/risk for those individuals that have been using this drug. As opposed to demanding an NDA from Forest Pharma they should have sat with them and reviewed the long history of this drug, the number of scripts written for this drug and even contacting those physicians/endocrinologists that have been prescribing it for their patients.

The only safety question in my mind is does Armour ingestion, a foreign protein, cause an immune response. This would have been reported by the medical profession if that were the case. Secondly, historically, large segments of the population have been eating pig and pig organ meats for generations without ill affects. The ingestion of a purified material from pig (Armour thyroid a protein) is probably benign. The FDA scientists should know this and counsel their legal staff as to the benign nature of the drug.

Hank

I too have been switched back to Synthroid after several successful years of being on Armour. At this juncture it is too early to tell how this will impact me. Luckily, my physician had the foresight to also put me on Cytomel after I suggested this from my readings. The combination of Armour and Cytomel seemed to work quite well for me without any adverse events.

This next is my opinion so take it as such. I believe the makers of Synthroid (Abbott Ross) in an attempt to increase their sales of Synthroid put pressure on the FDA to require the makers of Armour to submit an NDA. It is a devastatingly poor tactic by Abbott Ross but typical of this industry.

It is unfortunate that the FDA is caught in the middle of this since by statute and law drugs must pass regulatory muster. Where the FDA has failed is in their lack of looking at the long past history of Armour, its lack of adverse events and its benefit/risk for those individuals that have been using this drug. As opposed to demanding an NDA from Forest Pharma they should have sat with them and reviewed the long history of this drug, the number of scripts written for this drug and even contacting those physicians/endocrinologists that have been prescribing it for their patients.

The only safety question in my mind is does Armour ingestion, a foreign protein, cause an immune response. This would have been reported by the medical profession if that were the case. Secondly, historically, large segments of the population have been eating pig and pig organ meats for generations without ill affects. The ingestion of a purified material from pig (Armour thyroid a protein) is probably benign. The FDA scientists should know this and counsel their legal staff as to the benign nature of the drug.

Hank
hfrier@comcast.net
Hank Frier
1

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What is the Correct Vitamin D Dosage?


Annette posts a question to metabolism.com since she is on a high dosage of vitamin D due to intestinal surgery. Is the dosage too much for her, she wonders?

When the intestines fail to absorb fats due to surgery or due to disease, Vitamin D which is a fat soluble vitamin, can see its levels fall dramatically. Otherwise healthy people in the U.S., however, are being found to have unacceptably low Vitamin D levels. Is it due to inadequate diet or is it a result of wide spread sunlight phobia?

Here is Annette’s post followed by my response to her question. Answers to these questions are contained in this exchange.

Annette writes:

I had a Bilio Pancreatic Diversion surgery done in 1990. My Vitamin D level is low, at 15.
My Dr. has me on 50,000 iu of Vit D every other day, 4,000 iu on the other days.

May I ask you, what is your opinion on this amount of Vit. D. The 50,000 iu capsules are by prescription.

Thanks so Much,

AS
**************************************************

Metabolism.com responds:

Vitamin D deficiency is a serious problem and has been largely overlooked in the general population until recently. Vitamin D is not only important for bone health but we are learning it is important for the immune system and may help protect against certain cancers. In my medical practice in Florida I am finding an alarming number of my patients with very low and borderline low levels of Vitamin D that were totally unexpected. I assume it is because everyone knows that sunlight is bad because it causes wrinkles and skin cancer. The further north you live the weaker the sunlight so the incidence of vitamin D deficiency is higher.

Until recently the recommended daily Vitamin D allowance was 400 IU but recently this was increased to 800 IU and some authorities recommend higher amounts.
10,000 IU levels daily for the average normal person is thought to be an upper limit before toxicity can be seen. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin so in people who have problems absorbing fat, such in your case after intestinal bypass surgery, higher amounts are needed. Vitamin D doses of 50,000 IU at a time are not unusual but are usually given only a few times weekly or monthly, depending on needs. A handy tip is that deficient Vitamin D causes serum calcium levels to be low, so many clinicians will monitor serum calcium levels to help adjust the prescription.

Although I can’t recommend medical therapy in this forum I have some thoughts I can share. Why not get another blood vitamin D level measured to see if the amount you are getting is okay? Calcium levels go up in vitamin D excess so a serum calcium level that is elevated can be an indication of too much vitamin D.

Hope that helps. Keep us posted.

The metabolism.com website disclaimer applies to this and all my posts.

G. Pepper

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The Holiday Spirit of Generosity by Maya Sarkisyan


Metabolism.com is posting this unusually generous offer as a courtesy to our expert Maya Sarkisyan.

Maya writes:

The Holiday Spirit of Generosity

We consider holidays to be a special time of the year – when we give and receive gifts, visit or host the family, celebrate, and enjoy traditional rituals. We all have a collection of memories associated with this time of the year – some are good and others are not as much, however those are the memories originated while we were kids – excited about the special times of gifts and sweets and friends. How exciting it is to believe in Santa Clause, elves, and other magical things waiting for us. I still remember the smell of the special dish my Mom used to make for us during the winter holidays…

It is common to see and hear local charity volunteers by the malls and department stores, and to experience the impatience of people rushing to buy gifts for their loved ones. Thankfully we got internet shopping now and trips to the store are not the exclusive source of the holiday gifts. We can donate through the internet now, and even buy gifts and request shipping directly to the recipient. In many cases it is a real life saver – no kidding, spending hours at the post office had never been my favorite pastime… And yet, don’t you think we are getting more remote even to our loved ones who live nearby, as our virtual lives expand and flourish? Perhaps our gifts could be even more meaningful…
When I think of generosity many thoughts come to my mind.
It is about giving part of something that is yours to somebody else without any expectations of getting anything in return.
And we are accustomed to think it is about money or things. And it is, but not only.

I would like to talk about the generosity of the heart, when we give out time, our love and attention to others without any expectations of getting anything in return. When we find time for that phone conversation, personal postcard, hand written letter, shared cup of tea, friendly embrace. When we share the gift of knowledge with friends and observe their lives getting better as a result of it.
As we look into each other eyes catching that spark connecting us one to another – friendly people.

Than our gifts tend to be more meaningful – sharing the knowledge and paying attention to the other’s needs and wants can make all the difference.

I recently came from the business trip where one of my wonderful friends shared his home, time, comfort, and joy with me for a few days. It was the most precious gift of generosity – the sharing of a few life-days. I believe one of the most important acts of generosity happens when we let others experience the warmth of our hearts and purity of our intentions. And there is a real possibility of magic happening as the result of us giving and receiving such a generous gift – as we can now relax into the feeling of being accepted and cared without any expectations. It often doesn’t take a few days to give such a gift – it can take only a few minutes of connection, support, and sharing.

This holiday season I’m inviting you to enjoy sharing your generosity and compassion with your loved ones.
I also prepared a gift for you!

Receive a full one-hour COMPLIMENTARY session with the purchase of a gift certificate for friends and family.

Creative Gift Ideas:

1. One session of your choice plus $10 towards the follow-up session.
(The most affordable gift of health.)
Value of $100.00
YOUR COST: $75.00

2. Package of 3 Five Elements acupuncture sessions.
(Perfect to experience the body/mind/spirit rejuvenation.)
Value of $270.00
YOUR COST: $180.00

3. Package of 3 NET treatments.
(Ideal for somebody under high stress and/or facing life challenges.)
Value of $270.00
YOUR COST: $180.00

4. Anti-Aging Cosmetic Acupuncture complete package.
(Minimally invasive and gentle way to “turn back the clock”.)
Value of $650.00
YOUR COST: $550.00

5. Package of 3 behavioral consulting sessions.
(Great for somebody facing dilemma or conflict, wants to eliminate unwanted habits/reactions, and get motivated)
Value of $270.00
YOUR COST: $180.00

6. Create the package of your choice!
Contact me with your questions and ideas so we can brainstorm together. 800.590.6292

Better than that – every healing session from the list (on the right panel) is priced $65.00. For some sessions it is 50% discount!

This offer is valid for the remaining of the year 2009 for new and existing clients. Purchased gifts can be used at any time.

800.590.6292

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to your friends and family to help them get healthier as new year approaches.

I wish you happy and healthy holiday season and Happy New Year!


Maya Sarkisyan, D.O.M., C.Ht, Lic.Ac
Doctor of Oriental Medicine
Comprehensive Life Care Specialist
Certified Master NLP Practitioner and Hypnotist
www.transentient.com
800-590-6292

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Dangerous Alternatives for Desiccated (Armour) Thyroid


Yesterday a patient of mine asked if I was aware of a source of desiccated thyroid produced in Thailand. I was immediately skeptical for a few reasons. Many countries do not have an agency that provides quality control for medications. Whatever the drawbacks to the FDA, it is reassuring to know that for the most part, they have been able to protect citizens in the US from dangerous or defective medications. Many other countries provide similar protection to their population. Unfortunately there are places in the world where potentially dangerous medication is still available without a prescription. Quality control of medication production is also lacking.

My concern is that in some parts of the world, possibly Thailand for example, that a medication like Armour could be made but no qualified individual or agency is available to certify its ingredients or standardization.

Today a well meaning member forwarded their comments on a product called Thyroid S produced in Thailand, which is a supposed substitute for Armour thyroid and is available without a prescription. My reaction is that until we can be certain of the formulation of a medication that the best thing to do is to avoid using it. Perhaps in time someone will be able to provide the necessary information required to evaluate this product but as editor-in-chief of this website I will try to guard our readers against becoming victims of scams and exploitation.

I welcome any information others may have on solid information about Thyroid S or similar compounds being marketed as Armour Thyroid substitutes.

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How to Manage Your Carbs for Best Dieting Results


When weight control is the goal, I generally recommend a low carb diet for my patients with metabolic problems such as type 2 diabetes and thyroid disease. Even those who are completely healthy often find the low carb approach the most successful for weight loss. We are pleased to offer the following suggestions on how to manage your carbs from Elizabeth Somer, R.D., M.A., author of a new book “Eat Your Way to Happiness”.

Elizabeth writes:

10 Steps for a Carb Makeover
by Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D.,
Author of Eat Your Way to Happiness

If you are a carb craver, you need to treat yourself with a little kindness. It’s not your fault you can’t keep your fingers out of the cookie jar or the bag of chips. You can’t “will away” those cravings. They are hardwired in your head.

So work with your carb cravings. Make sure each meal contains at least one whole grain. Plan a quality-carb snack at your most craving-prone time of the day (typically midafternoon or late evening). To maximize your mood and minimize your weight, you need to take this quality-carb message seriously. That means tackling the issue with a 10-step plan.

Step #1. Purge the kitchen of all white flour. Open the cupboards and toss the junk. Throw out the obvious: the white rice, the instant mashed potatoes, any cracker or cookie made with anything but 100% whole grain (you are pretty much down to Triscuits and 100% Whole Wheat Fig Newtons), all potato chips, Pop-Tarts, boxes of bread crumbs, Pasta Roni, Hamburger Helper, cans of Chef Boyardi Ravioli, Costco muffins and such. Search the freezer for French fries, hash browns, breakfast foods made from processed grains or other high-calorie/low-quality items like Marie Callender’s frozen pasta entrees or pot pies.

Definitely toss your carb triggers, junk foods that you are powerless to resist. Remember, if you have to drive to the store to get ice cream, you will be much less likely to binge.

Then read labels on the rest. If wheat flour or enriched flour is in the top three ingredients on a label, you are holding a poor-quality carb. Toss it.

Okay, okay, if this cold-turkey approach is a bit over the top, then keep two or three junk carbs and toss the rest. But beware: these items may be “trigger” foods that tempt you to indulge. Also, keep in mind that this is not so much about “giving up” as it is giving to” your health, your mood, and your belly and thighs.

Step #2. Restock the kitchen with the 100% whole grains you like, such as 100% whole-wheat bread, old-fashioned oatmeal, Kashi Autumn Wheat Cereal or GoLean Cereal, Zoom hot cereal or instant brown rice. Experiment with new grains, like barley, millet, amaranth, whole-wheat couscous or bulgur.

If you can’t imagine your spouse or kids loving whole-wheat pasta or whole-wheat tortillas, then choose the next best thing. For example, try Aunt Jemima frozen Pancakes with Whole Grains, or tortillas or pastas made from blends of whole wheat and refined wheat, such as Ronzoni or Barilla whole-wheat blend pastas.

Step #3. Switch to quality carbs in recipes. For example, if a recipe calls for

white rice: use instant brown or wild rice, bulgur, millet or other whole grains

flour: use at least half whole-wheat flour

bread (such as French toast): use whole-grain bread

potatoes: use sweet potatoes, yams, squash and/or corn

Step #4. Plan snacks and bring grains with you. When packing your lunch and snacks for the day, make sandwiches with 100% whole-grain bread, use low-fat cheeses such as Cabot Vermont 50% Reduced Fat Cheese, and include other grains like 100% whole-grain crackers or air-popped popcorn.

Step #5. Create nonfood rewards. Praise yourself with a manicure, flowers, a game of golf on Saturday or a Netflix movie. Follow the “if . . . then” rule: if you steer clear of the junk, then you get the back rub, hour of alone time or bubble bath.

Step #6. Take time. Often we grab food before we even know whether we really want it. That knee-jerk reaction gets us into trouble. Take a 10-minute pause before diving into any snack, from popcorn to leftover doughnuts.

Step #7. Identify the craving. Is it for something crunchy or chewy? Cold, sweet or creamy? Once you have pinpointed exactly what you want, then find a low-calorie food that satisfies that craving. Luckily, the better you eat, the more your cravings for fatty or overly sweet carbs will dwindle.

Step #8. Eat breakfast. As discussed in Chapter 2, eat a nutritious breakfast and you are much more likely to resist junk-food temptations throughout the day.

Step #9. Keep hunger at bay. Eat small meals and snacks evenly distributed throughout the day. This helps keep serotonin levels (and other nerve chemicals like NPY) in the normal range.

Step #10. Out of sight, out of mind. Put another way, seeing is craving. Watch out for temptations at the mall, restaurants and friends’ houses. It is easy to overdo carbs when most of the ones offered to you are the low-quality ones. For example, studies at the University of Illinois found that people ate 45% more calories when there was a bread basket placed on the table in restaurants than when the waiter came by and offered them a slice from a basket. Ask that the tortilla chips be removed when dining at a Mexican restaurant and you will save yourself 300 unnecessary calories. Avoid the coffee shop with the display of muffins, scones and croissants.

The above is an excerpt from the book Eat Your Way to Happiness by Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D.. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy.

Copyright © 2009 Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., author of Eat Your Way to Happiness

Author Bio
Elizabeth Somer, M.A., R.D., author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, is a registered dietitian and author of several books, including 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman’s Diet, Food & Mood and Age-Proof Your Body. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of Shape magazine and editor in chief of Nutrition Alert, a newsletter that summarizes the current research from more than 6,000 journals. She appears frequently on NBC’s Today and other national television shows.

For more information please visit www.EatYourWayToHappiness.com.

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